United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions - Towards the Creation of a Global Network “Strengthening integrated responses to water and energy as a strategy for climate change action”

Cervantes Institute


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development recognizes the central role that improved access to both water and energy play in advancing sustainable development. Powering progress on SDG6 and SDG7 will have an effect on a range of other Sustainable Development Goals, such as those on health, food, poverty eradication, economic productivity, and climate change, as well as the interdependent processes involving the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. A transformative, integrated approach to water and energy lies at the heart of the success of these interconnected agendas.

Worldwide, more than 2 billion people already live in countries experiencing high water stress and climate change will put additional strain, as water availability becomes less predictable and increased incidences of flooding are threatening to destroy water points and sanitation facilities and contaminate water sources. 1 billion people currently live without electricity, and almost 3 billion people lack access to clean-cooking solutions and are exposed to dangerous levels of air pollution. Extreme weather events such as storms, forest fires, floods and extreme temperatures affect energy production and delivery facilities, cause supply disruptions and affect infrastructure that depends on the energy supply. Global demand for water and energy will continue to increase significantly over the coming decades, greatly amplifying pressures on limited natural resources and ecosystems. Moreover, climate change can exacerbate already stressed energy and water scenarios through events such as extreme weather conditions and prolonged drought periods. Climate change is a complex problem that has increased the need for an integrated, multi-sectoral and multidisciplinary response.

The Paris Agreement offers an opportunity to advance sustainable development through scaled-up action on water and energy. Energy production is responsible for 35 per cent of our greenhouse gas emissions, while energy use in transport and industry accounts for another 35 per cent. So, achieving SDG7 will be an essential element of meeting the climate objectives agreed upon in Paris. Integrated water resources management is also key for climate change mitigation, as many efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions depend on reliable access to water resources.

Recognizing the need to address the interlinkages between water and energy and their contributions to the advancement of other SDGs and the Paris Agreement, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA) and Itaipu Binacional have joined efforts in a partnership entitled “Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions” to promote water and energy sustainability and other SDGs. The initiative calls for a global sustainability network on SDG6 and SDG7 interlinkages, with a large number of multi-stakeholders from all regions and constituencies. The aim is to bring together all stakeholders to promote an integrated approach to SDG6 and SDG7 in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

To be held in the margins of the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, this event will share experiences and best practices on integrated responses to water and energy as a means to contribute to climate action. The event will also brainstorm on a proposed global multi-stakeholder network on Sustainable Water and Energy Solutions, currently under development. The event is being organized jointly by ITAIPU Bi-National and UNDESA, with support from the Government of Spain.


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